international painting annual 6 exhibition-in-print
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Martha Gaustad
Toledo, Ohio

Bowling Green State University, student

detail image


Painting is a second career for me. My professional life began as a teacher of deaf children, then a position where I created educational materials and provided classroom technology training for teachers. I became involved in research about human learning and the acquisition and use of sign language. This led to a PhD, university teaching, and a unique experience with signing chimpanzees. Eventually I settled into a professorship in Education and ended my academic career with positions in university administration.

As an adolescent, I enjoyed drawing and experimenting with watercolor and acrylic painting. However, for most of my life, given career and family obligations, time for art was a very limited luxury. I never lost the desire. So, I made a solemn promise to myself that when I reached retirement (i.e. earned the right to do what truly made me happy) my time would finally be devoted to art. Painting has become a full time obsession. I have returned to class, enrolled in a BFA program and enjoyed four years of studio work. In addition to gaining skill and experience, I have been blessed to interact with, learn from, and be inspired by wonderfully talented and generous instructors, students and fellow painters.

In my lifetime, the perception of woman, opportunities for women, and their roles in society have changed more than during any period in history. Woman's Liberation was meant to erase limitations imposed by traditional gender expectations and roles. The goal was not to eliminate femininity, nor equate it with masculinity. Rather, it was to guarantee women the freedom to express personal, social, career and other aspects of individual difference and desire.

Today's pop culture and much contemporary art evidence a disturbingly harsh iteration of woman including promiscuity, vulgarity, aggression, demeaning appearance and behavior. I am strongly compelled to render my belief that today's woman can be independent, strong and ambitious, yet still be beautiful and comfortable in her own skin attractive in her softness, symmetry and vulnerability. In painting women, I am thoroughly engaged in the interaction between form and light, as well as the process of manipulating layers of color to recreate the texture, warmth and transparency that evoke the look and feel of human flesh.

Paintings in the Box Series extend this pursuit. The female figure is cast in varied patterns of light and shadow within a square wooden box. This arrangement permits exploration of unusual configurations of light cast and intensity. Beyond the physical reality and visual experience of this work, lies potential for another layer of interpretation for the viewer. The influence of others expectations (i.e. cultural, family, friends, religious, commercial, political) and how these are accommodated by each woman are critical underlying variables in profound societal issues regarding the status and rights of women worldwide. The Box Series dialogue between physical position and personal demeanor -- in response to the confining space-- can be interpreted in various ways as a reflection of an inner woman's response to her life situation e.g., resistance, acquiescence, turmoil, resignation.





born: Buffalo, Newyork



Univeristy of Nebraska-Lincoln PhD 1976
Canisius College, MS 1970
D'Youville College, BS 1969


selected awards/honors

Special Art Purchase, Ohio Arts Council, Fine Arts Exhibition, Ohio State Fair, Columbus OH August 2015
Best of Show, 60th Annual Spring Show, ArtSpace/Lima, Lima OH May 2015
Jurorís Choice Award, Fine Arts Exhibition, Ohio State Fair, Columbus OH August 2014
Medici Circle Travel Grant Award for study at Studio Art Centers International, Florence, Italy June 2013


selected group shows

Northern National Art Competition, Nicolet College, Rhinelander WI, July-Sept 2015
11th Annual Rites of Passage: Emerging Artists Exhibition, Manifest Gallery, Cincinnati OH, May-June 2015
BODY and SOUL, the 2015 Kreft Juried Exhibition, Concordia University Ann Arbor MI March-April 2015
6th Annual International NUDE Exhibition, Manifest Gallery, Cincinnati OH August-Sept 2014



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